Comment Policy

Greetings! It has come to my attention that I really need to state a “comment policy” for this blog. (Actually, it came to my attention some time ago, but I am only now getting to doing it.) The policy is based on a few facts:

  • This blog, while a personal blog, is an extension of my work and efforts as a minister. My thoughts on how a blog can serve in this way can be read in the very first entry I posted (October 25, 2006) and to a lesser extent on my “About” page. The moment that I begin to believe that the net effect of this blog is a detrimental one to those efforts is the moment I vaporize it.
  • This blog is not a “discussion forum,” per se, though discussion in the comments may certainly take place to a limited extent. There are numerous other places on the Internet where one can so indulge, and this blog is not meant to be yet another one of those places. I am not opposed to discussion, but “discussion” often turns into “debate,” and — especially on the Internet — “debate” often turns into “disputes and arguments,” a lá 1 Timothy 6:3-5, in which we are instructed to withdraw ourselves from those obsessed with such things. Debate may have its place, but that place is not here as it is simply not the purpose of this blog. (Obsession with disputes and arguments have no place anywhere.)
  • Many have asked how I have the time to write on this blog and perform my other duties, and I freely admit that it is difficult for me! However, I firmly believe that the skill of handling such responsibilities is a learnable skill (many handle much more than I do in the ministry and write MUCH more — and write better, to boot!), and this is another reason that I continue to maintain this blog — to push myself to grow in this area.
  • I thought long and hard about even opening the blog up to comments versus simply turning that feature off. Allowing comments without at least monitoring them, let alone responding on occasion, was unthinkable, as I do not wish to accidentally provide the enemies of Christ or the sowers of confusion yet another forum. Yet I knew that element of a blog had the potential to be very time consuming. So, I decided that I would allow comments for some time and take a “wait and see” approach. So far, it has not been too time consuming, and I am very appreciative of the great attitudes of the vast majority of those of you who have commented.
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the blog so far, as well as the fruit that has come of it. Your viewership and participation has been a big part of that, so thanks!

So, with these things in mind, let me lay out the basic elements of my comment policy:

  1. Comments are generally allowed if they are not insulting or abusive in nature and reflect a spirit of self-control and moderation.
  2. Comments expressing disagreement are generally allowed, although one is not allowed to be disagreeable in his or her expression of disagreement.
  3. As this is my blog meant for the purpose of advancing my own efforts of ministry and service to my congregations, as well as to any others who find their way here, any comments you make here will be used by me for my own purposes. (An analogous situation in radio might be the principle of “mike ownership” on a talk radio program. People call in and make their comments, yet it is the host who always gets the final say and uses the calls to his advantage — even utilizing the “cut off” button when it is necessary to do so. It’s my mike and my cut off button. 🙂 ) If that leaves you uncomfortable, then you may wish to find another forum for your comments.
  4. While I try to respond on occasion to comments, I do not always have the time nor do I always feel the inclination. So please do not take a lack of response as an agreement.
  5. I generally do not allow references by name to other specific individuals who are not already in the public eye out of respect for their privacy.
  6. I am picky about allowing links to other websites in the comments. While it is not forbidden, I will keep my own counsel about what links and references I will allow. Generally, I will not allow the comments sections to become forums for spreading confusion or dissention, and I believe that Scripture leaves me very little “wiggle room” in that regard.
  7. If a comment is otherwise presentable except for a minor infraction of this comment policy, I reserve the right to edit the comment (e.g., delete a website link) before allowing it to be posted. If any comment’s author is bothered by an edit I have made, he or she is welcome to ask me to remove the comment entirely.
  8. Because of the comment moderation that is performed and the screening process, there is usually a delay between the time you post a comment and the time it appears, and I ask your patience in this. (Also, WordPress has an automatic Spam filter that has on at least one occasion accidentally filtered out a comment and prevented it from showing. If you suspect this has happened to you, my apologies! I try to review the “Spam” on occasion to check for this, but there is — frankly — too much of it to do it often, or thoroughly, for that matter.)
  9. I hope that all understand that I will endeavor to implement this policy consistently, but also that I am as prone to error as any other man and I apologize for any inconsistency that results. Also, time and experience may show that this policy needs revising, which I will do based upon my own judgment and good counsel.

Well, I believe that this will do for now. I hope that this adds some much needed clarity to my approach to comments on this blog. If there are any questions, please let me know. Thus far, I have had very few incidents that have required me to step in, and — again — I have appreciated the way in which the vast majority of you “commenters” have presented yourselves. Thanks helping to make this blog what it is — whatever that happens to be!

One thought on “Comment Policy

  1. Anthony Marcinelli

    Hello Mr. Smith,

    I enjoy your blog… thank you for your valuable work. I came across this article linked from Mr. Jonathan McNair’s Northeast church site that I thought you might enjoy.

    The article is entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” A good read, but skim it at your own risk 🙂 It even mentions Alan Turing… I hope you enjoy it.

    Link:
    http://nelcg.org/news/?p=119http://nelcg.org/news/?p=119

    No need to post this comment just thought you might find this article useful.

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